Smith called a model of public service

The healthcare debate has allowed Congressman Chris Smith to get a good deal of attention and he now has a new distinction according to along with Congressman Bart Stupak for getting their amendment included in the health bill that passed:

It is men and women like Bart Stupak and Chris Smith who are the models of public service for all Catholics and other Christians.

Smith has been pushing the abortion button relentlessly throughout the healthcare debate. For him, the healthcare bill itself has seemed more like an afterthought. Some people have said that the Stupak amendment is a poison pill in the Senate including Rachel Maddow talking about the bill on Meet the Press this past Sunday. There have since been 40 members of the house who have said they will not vote for any bill that contains the Stupak language in the final version:

By late Monday, Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado had collected more than 40 signatures from fellow members who vowed they would not vote for a combined House-Senate health care bill if it contains language “that restricts women’s right to choose any further than current law.”

It really is pretty amazing that while Congressman Smith pushed for this during the years that his party held the White House and controlled Congress, it took the Democrats taking control to have him get the results. It still remains to be seen whether the language of the Stupak amendment survives a conference committee, but it has made it this far.

Comments (21)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    Going into this debate, I was under the impression that Medicaid does not provide coverage for abortions except when a woman’s health or life is at risk.

    I assumed that the same would be true for a public option.  Is there a difference between the Stupak language and similar language in Medicaid legislation?

    If there is something particularly onerous about the Stupak language that would justify a No vote going forward, I would appreciate knowing about it so that I can be armed with that info going foward.  Thanks.

  2. FormerBureaucrat

    get returned to Congress again, and again, and again, in a state like NJ where the anti-abortion attitude is generally unpopular.  I just don’t get it?

  3. Nick Lento

    It’s not complicated.

    People who wish to restsrict a woman’s right to choose are holding health insurance “reform” hostage so that they can reverse the laws allowing women the option of having an abortion.

    Under Stupak the ONLY abortions that insurance would cover would be under special

    policies that only existed to cover the possibility of unplanned pregnancy.   Such policies don’t exist and who the FUCK would buy them and Stupak would also allow abortion coverage by insurance policies that had not one penny of any kind of relationship of any kind to any kind of insurance pool that was associated with the new national regime that would mandate that every American be covered.

    This means that many millions of American women would LOSE the possibility that their insurance coverage would include thr freedom to choose an abortion.

    I’m a Catholic, I understand why the church opposes abortion.  And I also believe that some kinds of abortion can indeed be sinful; but if we’re going to make everything that can be sinful/immoral illegal; then 99% of all politicians and those who give them big money should probably be in jail!!!

    Any Democrat who votes for a final bill that throws pro choice women under the bus needs to be primaried out of their job!!!!


  4. Bertin Lefkovic

    The woman who is at the forefront at fighting for needy people to be able to remain in their homes deserves to be primaried from the left because she made the tough call that providing needy women (and men) with access to low-cost health insurance coverage that excludes one relatively inexpensive procedure is better than allowing the entire healthcare reform debate to collapse.

    Yes, I understand that this relatively inexpensive procedure is politically charged, but unless pro-choice groups can prove that Stupak will force many, if not most, women to choose an unwanted pregnancy that is covered by HCR instead of an abortion that is not covered, we are going to lose this fight.

    Undoubtedly, there are Democrats who voted for Stupak who deserve to be primaried, but I am willing to bet that in addition to Marcy Kaptur, there are some Dems who voted for it, because they calculated that it was the only way to get HCR passed in the House.

    What truly sucks is that the vote for HCR was close enough that such a calculation had to be made, and it is possible that the vote was as close as it was because of pro-choice groups like EMILY’s List.

    Shortly after the 2008 election, the argument was made that Linda Stender lost to Leonard Lance because far too much of her message was focused on Lance being anti-abortion and not enough on how Stender would be good on economic issues.  This flawed strategy was attributed to the role that EMILY’s List played in and pressure that it placed on Stender’s campaign.

    If this criticism is true and other tight races were lost in 2008 for similar reasons, then it would be fair to say that the pro-choice community must take some responsibility for Stupak’s inclusion in HCR.

    As much as a woman’s right to choose is far too serious to be discussed in solely fiscal terms, HCR is primarily a fiscal issue, and as such, elements of it, like Stupak, should be addressed on its fiscal impact, in addition to the degree to which it restricts a woman’s right to choose.

  5. Nick Lento

    You pick an otherwise admirable individual as an example……but, yes, if this comes down to a final vote that includes the Stupak obscenity and Kaptur, or Steve Rothman or Frank Pallone were to support Stupak; then they would all have sold out on a basic Democratic principle and would deserve to be defeated in a primary.

    What’s your problem with women having the right to choose being a fundamental right???

    The insurance “reform” bill is already an ugly watered down collection of compromises that throw MOST of the American people whop AT LEAST want a robust oublic option under the bus.

    The opposition to Single Payer and/or a ROBUST public option is corrupt.   No two ways about it.  The status quo is driven by concerns for the “health” insurance industry’s continued profitability and existence.

    Are we running this nation for the benefit of an industry or for the health and welfare of the PEOPLE?

    People who are so obligated to their Catholic (or whatever) religion that they are willing to subvert human rights to their religious fundamentalism are not people who I want making health care policy for every woman in America!  We are not a theocracy!

    Progressives will never win by constantly giving in and compromising……it takes the steam out of the impetus for reform.    

    If I was a health insurance industry operative, and I read your “take” here it would give me great aid and comfort.

  6. Bertin Lefkovic

    …allowing opposition to Stupak to collapse it isn’t going to make it better.

    Would you prefer it if instead of allowing Stupak to pass, the Democrats in Washington would have abandoned the public option altogether?  How many people would have had their healthcare needs abandoned under that trade-off?

    Ever since Hyde, the determining factor for a woman’s right to choose has been whether or not abortion was legal, not whether or not a woman could afford it.

    Yes, it is possible that some women who currently have health insurance that covers abortions could find that after HCR passes, that is no longer the case, which would undoubtedly suck.

    However, the law of the land would still be that abortion is legal and after HCR millions of people who currently have no health insurance will have some.

    Is this ideal?  No, but it will be better than it was before, which is all that we can hope for at the moment.

    Do I hope that Stupak is jettisoned at some point in the process going forward?  Of course, but not at the expense of HCR as a whole.

    And as much as I agree with you in preferring single payer or a more robust public option to what we currently have, I think that it is safe to assume that if single payer had been passed, there is a very good chance that abortions would not be covered in the same way that they are currently not covered by Medicaid.

    If you could have single payer without abortion coverage or the current watered-down bill sans Stupak, which would you choose?  I would choose single payer.  I’d like to think that most progressives would.

    If every other medical procedure imaginable is covered by single payer, the cost of an abortion is unlikely to prevent a woman who wants one from getting one.


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